The collection was assembled during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by Chile's foremost authority on early printing and bibliography, José Toribio Medina, and was donated by him to Chile's National Library in 1925. In 1940, Brown University Library undertook a microfilming project of selected titles in the National Library to augment the holdings of the John Carter Brown Library.
A guide to the microfilm collection is available at Weldon Library, F1410.L385 ser.6 guide.
This collection features expedition records, original letters, maps of exploration and colonization, and "diaries of discoveries" from South America. It covers Columbus' first voyage (at Sloane Ms 1709) to the end of Colonial Spanish rule. The set discusses European exploitation, evangelization, and botanical and geographical exploration from Texas to Tierra del Fuego; it features maps; scrolls; descriptions of voyages by sea and river, terrain, flora and fauna, settlement posts, plantations, mines, and missionary activities; and personal diaries. Territories represented include: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Florida, Guatemala, Guiana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Patagonia, Peru, Puerto Rico, Texas, Uruguay, Venezuela, and the West Indies.
Languages include Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, and Italian. It also features Bible translations in Quechua and other native languages as well as Indigenous dramas and poems.
A guide to the microfilm collection is available in print at Weldon Library, E123.C7383 Guide, and through the Center for Research Libraries online.